Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Another POV of Google's Motorola buyout

Maybe Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility is not a backpedal move at all. Some speculations on what Google have up their sleeve are Motorola's 'Ready for Business', which is the commercial brand for enterprise features within the Motorola Android Platform which include core mobile device management, mobile security and productivity tools. Google might use that to breach the corporate segment, and make Android a viable platform of choice for enterprise, depleting RIM's domination.

As we all know, Motorola is one of the major brands for Android devices. While said brand isn't particularly popular outside of US, it has a firm ground in the western market, but somehow it's not gaining much traction towards 'THE Android brand to get' as rapid as the Korean company: Samsung. Sure, MMI were the first with 2.0 Droids, and the first with 3.0 tablets, but even those weren't impactful enough to change the brand preference of general users, say, Galaxy S II, anyone?. Google's acquisition might be the answer to that.

While running Motorola as a separate business, Google can help Motorola to improve their hardware and software integration, and maybe help them with some AdSense advertising to give more exposure. Is it favorable among Open Handset Alliance members? Of course not. But will it help Android in the long run by not letting Motorola's Android division ran out of gas before the real war is even started.
Pricey bet? Indeed it is. $12.5 Billion, and within that amount, the patents alone valued for $8+ Billion. For some of us it might seem like pulling rabbit out of the hat since Google's revenue for the last two years sums up to roughly $12.2 Billion, but they must've had some spare cash to splurge on some pretty important buyout such as this, right?

And last but not least, the main concern for GOOG nowadays is that in this war for patent infringements and mobile companies high on a suing spree, they have less than 1500 patents, and most of which don't have anything to do with the mobile platform. By purchasing Motorola Mobility, they have secured patent assets that will (hopefully) help them defend the Android from patent lawsuits. Sure, Nortel's sinking ship brought an estimated 6000 patents treasure cove on the table, which was won by a rather unique consortium comprised of Apple, RIM and Microsoft, but Moto's 17000 patents add another 7500 patent applications are not something to scoff at.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Top 10 killer features that Microsoft should consider for Windows 8

Windows 7? It feels like yesterday. And now, Windows 8 is just around the corner. if you want to know what Microsoft’s been cooking, head straight to the kitchen http://msftkitchen.com. Recently, one of MSFT’s blog-happy employee leaked a top-secret slideshow, highlighting the main discussion topics about the development of Windows 8. In the slides, you can also see that Microsoft has an all-in-one PC up their sleeve that looks like an iMac if it had been invented by a 5 years old. What? Touch screen computing that can automatically detect your moustache and automatically log you on? Holy cow! What year is this? 1990?

So Microsoft is scared, .. real scared.. of Apple’s methodology of brainwashing people into becoming their cult followers. They stated it as ‘Product UX is designed to help consumer realize value…’. Big load of bull crap. Apple is NOT in any way identical to VALUE. Not in a lightyear, smartpants. Apple products are tailored to HUMAN needs. They have natural interaction for the UI, and they can guess what the customers want without needing the rocket science of opening the whole kernel or executing terminal commands. Well, I can do that, but my grandma can’t, yet she can operate the iPad fine to read books and browse cookbooks. Pricey? Yes. Difficult to use? No.

Hey, Microsoft! You want your Windows 8 to be a Mac OS killer? Here’s some things that need to be added to your homework checklist. If you can pull all of these off nicely, then I can guarantee you: people will at least buy your OS and they’ll consider torrenting it from Piratebay much less than you expect.

1. One-button reset for the whole OS
I’m a happy technician. Everytime there’s a problem with somebody else’s computer, I get paid to fix it, re-format the OS, and so on. So it’s good for ME, but I’m going to say this nevertheless: Make Windows idiot-proof by providing a one-button complete data wipe or hara-kiri button when something goes wrong and leave the core OS intact. Forget “System Recovery” because it’s too complicated and idiotic: A Conficker Virus can easily hide in Windows’ recovery files, not my idea of a suicidal mission.

2. Windows Store: App Store, Microsoft style
Now this is the idea I’m most excited about. Want to avoid software piracy and lower the price for software retails? Get rid of the physical form and start gathering developers to build app for Windows via an Internet distribution system. For games, leave it to the people at Valve. I don’t want your filthy hand to touch my sacred gaming delivery system.

3. Azure seamless integration
Right-click, choose: ‘send to D:\’ or ‘send to Internet’. That sounds nice, doesn’t it? Make people familiar with the cloud service. Make something similar to Drop Box. Get rid of all complexity and bureaucracy. Make Internet file-sharing and remote syncing as easy as drag-and-drop. You can charge people to use Azure’s service like Apple’s MobileMe, but in a cheaper price, of course.

4. Bing! Search integration to desktop
User may want to search images, but most of the time not from their own computer. That’s why Google’s and Bing’s Image search gets gazzilion of hits every day. Integrate the search so that it provides easy result-aggregation. So far a similar system for Windows 7 that I can find is a search connector plugin by chakkaradeep. Why not make it official?

5. Make iWork, oops.. sorry. I mean, Office, an opt-out package
Learn from Apple. Make Windows a whole package with Office, and reduce prices. That’s an effin easy job for you, Microsoft. See Microsoft Internet Explorer? It’s the most widely used browser in the world. Obviously not because it’s good. But because it’s shipped with Windows.

6. Make a unified Windows version
Starter, Basic, Home, WTF? Just make one smart OS that can detect 32-bit or 64-bit intelligently, then make a unified OS. Make it similar to Linux, where people can pick their packages to install at first, or make it similar to Windows Server, where people can pick a machine role, then the OS will take care of the rest.

7. Integrate uPnP services to Windows Media Player
Got an Xbox360? PS3? Make it easier to share media files through uPnP/DLNA. It’s not that hard. Make an app for managing media share devices. It’s the friggin future of home entertainment.

8. Multi-desktop environment
Again, learn from Linux. Multi-desktop is much efficient for productivity compared to that idiotic Aero peek. I like Aero peek, but not as much as I like Expose and Spaces in Mac OS X and Ubuntu Linux. Combine it with multi-monitor and you have a plethora of view options to abuse. That’s how I want my desktop to be, not one, monolithic space.

9. Simpler networking
Windows 7 and Vista’s networking is a joke. It’s too complicated for users. Of course, WiFi implementation is nice and all, but when it comes to configuring advanced networking options, all the steps are obscured. If I want to disable password-sharing I have to make a detour to the Start -> Control Panel -> Network and Sharing -> open side panel -> then click on ‘Advanced sharing settings’ the scroll all the way to the bottom. Steps to configure static IP address? I don’t want to even think about it. In Mac OS, I only have to go to System Preferences -> Networks, and it’s all there.

10. Change Windows’ name to something else
It’s the crappy name associated with a crappy OS so far. If Microsoft want to change the image of their OS, then they need to do something with the name first.

You might think that if Microsoft applied all these points to Windows 8, then it would be extremely similar to Mac OS. Yes it is. But it isn't a bad thing, isn't it? The majority of people still use Windows, and there's no way that people will change mindset in a snap of a finger. The most important thing is that Windows can be more easier to use, unlike Windows Vista, a bloated piece of crap wrapped in a fancy glass box.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Kaskus makes Indonesian language too damn funny, and Naburo makes Naruto look like a masterpiece

If you’re Indonesian and you don’t have any idea about Kaskus, then, either you’re wasting too much time on Failbook or downloading too much not-so-legal stuff through bitTorrent. The online community which is sort of a second home for some Indonesian Internet users, has been known to be the source of all terms unbeknown to Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia: terms such as ‘agan’, ‘cendol’, ‘pertamax’ and God knows how much more there are are now gracing other bulletin boards and forums in Indonesia.

I stumbled upon a discussion in the Internet about an Indonesian comic called ‘Naburo’, which is a blatant rip-off of a Japanese manga ‘Naruto’. Copyright infringement? In Indonesia, such thing is a dime a dozen, although not as numerous as in China. What so special about Naburo is that, this book’s quality is abysmal. From artworks that are closer to a doodling than a finished drawing, cheesy and pointless conversation, facepalm-inducing storyline, and there are crapload of names originated from Naruto, unmodified. But I’ll just leave it at that. If you want to read some of the stuff, try here. Flooone has been very kind by scanlating the abomination into English.

All this talk about Naburo brought me to a well-known Naruto community forum called ‘Narutofan Forums’, and in one of the discussion thread, I found a link to Google translate that redirected me into Kaskus. All this time, I usually read Kaskus in native language, which is Indonesian. But a funny thing happened. Google translate changes the sentences from Indonesia to English, and guess what? I LOLed so hard my stomach struggled in pain.

Try it yourself and compare the two:
Original version
Translated version

some of my favorites:
maksa banget gan” translated to “forcing banget gan
naburo, ngasi nama baru yang beda dikit kek” translated to “naburo, the new name ngasi little different kek
gambarnya parah banget ......heran bisa dijual di gra*edia , ni komik sempet jadi bahan omongan di AMH trit naruto” translated to “really bad...... wonder can be sold in the gra * edia , Ni comic sempet be the talk of AMH trit naruto
wah ane jadi makin bangga ni” translated to “wah ane became increasingly proud ni

And many more. Did you see how readable they are, and how some sentences are actually how some Indonesian people mix-and-match English with Indonesian language? Of course, not every post is readable, but comparing the two and reading through all the pages is somewhat entertaining.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

StarCraft II LAN fiasco: What Blizzard should do

Among all most wanted titles of 2009-2010, one of the game that’s ranked pretty high on my list is StarCraft II. But the recent ruckus about the missing LAN feature kinda dropped the hype for me, the rage of the SCII fans and community member is utterly disheartening, and the stance of the developers on this matter is simply adding salt to the wound.

Blizzard is well known for its PC roots, and it’s great that until today, they still deliver quality games exclusively to their PC fans. The reason of the omission of LAN or local network gaming to combat piracy is fully understandable. But there are surely better ways to implement the workaround and not making an impression of ‘punishing’ the gamers.

From what we can see in the recent showing at BlizzCon ’09, it seems that Battle.Net login is becoming the main in-game gateway before gamer can access the game, and ‘Play as Guest’ is the only offline play mode available. This system awfully resembles Battlefield 2142, and it’s one of the worst case in comparison, I must say. In my first experience with BF2142, you can play offline using an ‘injected’ default player profile, but all of the achievements and statuses will be nullified. This means that you can’t progress in rank, can’t unlock new items and weapons, and what’s worse: making the game completely uninteresting to play because you can’t play the damn drool-inducing Titan Mode. Guess what? That time, I was left with no options to access the internet. My dial-up modem crapped out, and I had just moved in to the new rented house with my family so no broadband either. Curse you EA.

Does Guest Account do what I think? Better not be. If this is the case, then what Blizzard do is far from embracing its loyal userbase on the PC, it’s downright hurting them. What about gamers who doesn't have access to the Internet at all? There are third-world countries to consider as well.

Are there ways that Blizzard can do to avoid this? Sure! Look at Valve.
With Steam, my online game experience (and single-player, too) can’t be any better. Downloading bought, legal games is easy. But that’s not the point here. If Blizzard is going the DRM route, then in-game Battle.Net login should be scrapped. They should implement an external authentication software to do so. Why? Because firewalls and non-transparent proxies in home and office networks don’t favor ports other than HTTP ones.

I had severe headache when I tried to run Ragnarok Online and similar online games through FreeProxy back in 2003. But now games on Steam alleviates such login problems because, in order to run the games, all they need is a centralised login account. Even though you’re using a port redirection, Steam can still login and run the game with full LAN and campaign features (although you can’t browse for online servers, because that needs a different connection port). Heck, it can even run in offline mode, using the stored login credentials.

So, I suggest either Blizzard jump into the Valve bandwagon, which is, very unlikely, or implement an external, proxy-and-firewall-aware authentication system. Both are good for the gamers. And they should really announce that kind of update and network compatibility issues, just … stop being vague by saying ‘No LAN? No big deal’. No big deal my *ss!!

Not all people will buy the game. Some will still crack and torrent it away. Look at Stardock. Blockbuster hit Sins of Solar Empire and Demigod makes good sales figures, (also, ‘good’ pirated copy figures) and they didn’t even think of using a DRM or some bloated authentication system. Why? Because: good games will sell.

Unless if SCII turns out to be a mediocre game and Blizzard is trying hard to sell it otherwise they’ll go bankrupt. But I’ll bite myself for saying that. =P